Phew - between the end of the year overload at work, the stress of last minute Christmas shopping and holiday planning, and the normal wear and tear of the week have really caused my anxiety levels to shoot through the roof. As a result, my free time has been spent mostly running from place to place to place, trying to take care of one of the above stressors.
However, blogging is a nice, cathartic exercise for me; so, I shall not be skipping today. That said, I'll try to keep it fairly brief so that I can go back to worrying about this and that.
A delicious piece of candy might help to calm me down; when I am particularly stressed out, I like to self-medicate with a lot junk food. If it weren't for my naturally speedy metabolism, I'd be screwed (hopefully it holds out for a while). Unfortunately, while the cards I'm about to show originally came with candy, that was not the case when I found them.
The 1922 E120 American Caramel Baseball Card set was a series of 240 cards distributed with the titular candy company's delectable delights. The cards were color-coded by league, with American League players printed in brown on cream cardstock and the National League players printed in dark green on sea-foam cardstock.
Although, what I have here are actually a set of reprints produced in 1991. So, even if a piece of caramel survived 90+ years, it wouldn't be found with this exact set. Bah... technicalities.
I found this set at the LCS by my place of employment. Another thing I like to do when I'm all bugged out is to flip through some cards; thankfully, a nearby card store makes that an easy task right after work.
The proprietor of this particular establishment acquired these curiosities and kindly set them aside for me. He's familiar with my goal of collecting one card of everyone to have ever played for the Cubs and noticed that this set featured a lot of obscure names.
It was quite the pleasant surprise. It might be a little hard to see his face, but the expression of Oscar Grimes' mug was probably exactly what mine looked like at the time. Not only was being able to cross a nice handful of names off of my to-get list in one fell swoop a mood-changing experience, but the fact that someone thought enough of me to set them aside for me was especially uplifting. Sometimes it's just nice to be thought of, you know?
What was also nice was the deal he cut me. For the eight cards in the checklist that were needs in my collection, he ended up charging me a flat eight bucks. My post-purchase research indicated to me that, even though they are reprints, singles from the 1991 edition regularly go for $1.50 for lesser names. So, he even gave me a good deal - score!
Before these beauties joined my collection, I honestly had no idea that the set had ever been reprinted. For a lot of these names, these are the only card they had printed in their name. If not, there might have been one or two other ones; but, those too would be rare and super vintage. I thought these would be white whale acquisitions for longer down the road, if I were to add these names to my collection.
After all, how many of these players have you actually heard of? I mean, honestly?
As proven several times over the course of this pursuit and blog, reprints are my best friend when it comes to adding old-timey players to my CATRC.
For reference, here's what the back of the cards look like:
As you can see, I did not purchase the full team set. There were a few names on the checklist that I already had and since the set did not come sealed or shrink-wrapped, I was able to cherry pick just the cards that I needed.
The Cubs of the early 20's were not a particularly good team. After their flukey World Series appearance in 1918, the club did not make a return trip until 1929 and usually hovered around 80 wins. As you can see by the names on this particular list, their talent level reflects that. Except for that Hartnett dude, later known as Gabby, he does have a spot in Cooperstown after all.
Curiously, though American Caramel lists the manager, there were no managerial cards included in the set at all. This is unfortunate because Killefer is another guy that I need to track down. Poor managers - they've never really gotten any love, it's not just Topps that has slighted them.
2009 - the last year managers were included in Topps Flagship
All told, finding these cards after a particularly bothersome work day was an immensely happy surprise and total mood improver. Accordingly, so too has blogging about them been a cathartic and tension-reducing experience. I am so very grateful to have this outlet.
On top of that, I just got a pretty swell coupon for pizza in my text inbox; so, I've got that going for me too. While this time of year might be naturally anxiety-ridden, I just have to realize that it's not all bad and, while it can get intimidating, it's all totally manageable.
I hope you are all handling the holiday humbugs well too. How is it that you all deal with your stressors this time of year? I've found cardboard is relatively cheap therapy.
Now, about that junk food...